March 27, 2014

NLRB rules college football players are “employees” and can unionize [Darleen Click]

If this ruling stands, you can kiss good by to most college athletic programs.

Northwestern University football players were given the right to form college sports’ first labor union in a ruling that could seismically change the $16 billion business of top-level university athletics.

Peter Ohr, the National Labor Relations Board regional director in Chicago, ruled that all scholarship football players at the Evanston, Illinois, school who have not exhausted their college eligibility are “employees” and ordered an immediate election to create a union board.

Northwestern said it would appeal yesterday’s 24-page ruling, which for now only affects athletes at private schools and not at public universities, to the full NLRB in Washington. […]

In his ruling, Ohr said the scholarship football players are employees because they are compensated and come under the university’s control. The NLRB governs the rights of private-sector employees, meaning that the ruling only affects athletes who compete at private schools. Public-school players seeking to unionize would have to gain approval from state-run labor boards.

There are a lot of issues in college football and basketball as cash cows that lead to temptation to flout the rules about academics. And addressing issues of long term physical harm is another legitimate area to explore.

However, while the phrase $16 billion in revenue! is tossed about as evidence of NCAA/University “greed”, people forget that without a profitable football and/or basketball program at the school means no track and field, gymnastics, wrestling, tennis and other money-losing programs.

Though, there might be another reason for this push to unionize …

The United Steelworkers Union backed the players’ NLRB petition and is paying their legal fees.

And just think, at public universities, the football players will join Public Employee Unions!

How special!

Posted by Darleen @ 5:28pm

Comments (33)

  1. >you can kiss good by to most college athletic programs. <

    good. and high school sports too.

  2. Strike! Don’t spike.

  3. nr

    Sports are important. I made sure my daughters received a balanced education, with equal emphasis on academics, sports and music/arts.

    School may be the only time an individual will be able to participate in sports.

  4. geoffb

    The football players may be in for a nasty surprise once they become “employees”

    Their currently tax-exempt scholarships will become fully taxable income.

  5. >School may be the only time an individual will be able to participate in sports. <

    in middle/ high school i played baseball in a private league. that should be the model. public schools should get back to education. they should also stop providing food.

  6. I’m with newrouter on this one. Schools at all levels are failing in their main mission. They shouldn’t be allowed to pursue other missions until they demonstrate they can handle their primary mission. If the US returns to sanity in the future, perhaps we can reinstate sports.

  7. matt

    sports, like music ARE part of the mission of education.

    Give parents vouchers & let the market decide via excellence in education.

  8. >Give parents vouchers & let the market decide<

    that's where i am. we've have the east german model of edu now. the public schools in america are crony capitalism.

  9. Their currently tax-exempt scholarships will become fully taxable income.

    Taxes which they will then pay by adding to their student loan debt and then through the magic of Obama when they turn 65 they can owe their body and soul to the government store.

  10. “Ten Years of Protein Wisdom: A Performative in 140-Character Bites

    If we name it as racism, then hey white folks: it is! Be a white ally and stop telling us “racism does not exist” @suey_park #cancelcolbert

    The #privilege it takes to reexplain the “joke” as if it’s OUR misunderstanding not their lack of empathy that’s the problem #cancelcolbert

    After the intermission, “The Regress of Galliformes to their Perches”

  11. We already have the “culture” wars on another thread.

  12. We already have the “culture” wars on another thread.

    Nope, #CancelColbert is about intentionalism. Colbert PERFORMED racism qua racism and because he used BadSpeak he’s being punished.

    Yeah, I know what you meant…

  13. So many modest proposals there and so little wit.

  14. Read the thread over at David Thompson’s place? Where we start talking about false consciousness?

    “Minnow” shows up and demonstrates how hard it is to escape the Marxoid assumptions.

    “The Hayekian decent into serfdom hasn’t occurred” she asserts a few comments later.

    Ay, mi madre.

  15. flowers are blooming out west

  16. Papa Bush To Get Kennedy Library Foundation ‘Courage’ Award For Raising Taxes In 1990

    Yeah, I saw that on the evening news, which failed to mention that breaking his tax pledge contributed to his defeat in ’92.

    Democrats love their sellouts and losers, don’t they?

  17. Is the “culture” thing still going on down there? Sweet acidophilus!

  18. Read the thread over at David Thompson’s place? Where we start talking about false consciousness?

    Because Di always links to interesting things, I clicked over. And here’s my problem with Peter Risdon (whoever he is):

    Marxism belongs with traditional religions to a bracket of improbable, dogma-based belief systems that require faith to maintain, in the teeth of what could politely be called conflicting data. As with traditional religions, you get ‘Why I am still a Marxist’ and ‘Why I am no longer a Marxist’ essays and columns – Chris himself wrote one – which are very similar to ‘Why I am still/no longer a Christian’ type pieces.

    You don’t get ‘Why I am still a slightly conservative pragmatist’ essays in the same way.

    I have little use for pragmatists, “slightly conservative” or not, on Chestertonian grounds.

  19. That said, David makes the case for tempermental conservatism on Oakschottian grounds.

    Personlly, I would argue for a practical outlook as opposed to a pragmatic one. But I don’t care to open another front in the Culture war.

  20. In line with the Colbert thing.

  21. “You don’t get ‘Why I am still a slightly conservative pragmatist’ essays in the same way.”

    Except on Ace of Spades and Hot Air where they make up about 40% of the content.

  22. How could this possibly work with Title 9?
    Every time a school collectively bargains w/the football team they’ll be required to shell out an equal amount for their female athletes.

  23. It’s not about it working, that’s just for the mindless useful-idiot players who were talked into the suit which was financed by the Steel Workers Union run by Leo Gerard. It’s about the destruction of the idea, the ideal of competition. Another baby step for the collectivists.

  24. Also Northwestern is where Bill Ayers wife works IIRC>

  25. Richard Epstein read the decision and he ain’t impressed, save with what he calls the “mindlessness” of it.

  26. So, if they unionize, then some manner of union dues will be collected from the scholarships (funded by whom again?) to support another progressive entity dedicated to the enslaving of those still desiring freedom. Bottom line, it’s just another scam.

  27. “Today in college football the Northwestern Steelworkers take on the Michigan Auto Workers. Meanwhile in the SEC, the Alabama Scabs will play the Tennessee Union Busters.”

  28. College sports were weird enough already. Corporate-structure-wise, that is. Although the NCAA’s rules might be weirder.

    I assume the “schools should pay the athletes” bunch–as if a free college education isn’t compensation (monetarily, at least. Actual real-world value depends on whether they study something useful)–is behind this, but I’m damned if I know where they think they’re going with it.

  29. So, if they unionize, then some manner of union dues will be collected from the scholarships…

    I shudder to think about the damage the Progs will do every time they get another 0.25 credit hour paid by the goon squad.

    As to the ruling, I’ll confess I’m torn. These guys put up with grueling workouts to compete in a sport that carries a significant chance of injury, and their compensation is limited to whatever scholarships and incidentals the NCAA will allow. It’s exactly the sort of abusive management and corporate collusion that spawned the rise of the labor unions in the first place.

    I’m not crazy about the ruling, which I think is pretty flimsy, but I definitely sympathize with the players who want to restore a little balance to the negotiations.

    As for all the wonderful football revenues that go to subsidize less-popular collegiate sports, well, let’s just say that I’m really disappointed in Darleen’s “but the abuse is for a good cause!” argument.

  30. I don’t think that’s what Darleen was arguing.

    If these athletes want to be paid, then they and the universities all ought to abandon the amateur pretense and organize themselves as what they are: the NFL’s farm league.